Installing High Hat Lighting Fixtures

I am going to install high hat cans in my living room and kitchen. I am not going to do the wiring for them, I will have an electrician come in for that. I have access to the attic above. My first question is this;

Assuming I can do a good job installing them (not a slam dunk for me, but very likely), is it worth my while to install the cans, then call the electrician in, or should I let the electrician do the whole job?

If I install them, what is the best way to cut the holes?

I would prefer not to have to fasten the cans to the joists. I know that most cans come with devices that basically fasten the can to the wallboard. Do these devices work well? Are there different kinds (some better than others)? What other choices regarding the cans should I be aware of? (I know enough to buy cans that are rated for contact with insulation).

There will be about 9 cans in the kitchen, 9 to 12 in the living room.

Well, anything that doesn’t consume an electrician’s time is certainly going to cost you less. So yeah, if installing the cans is within your capability, go ahead. You might check with your electrician first, though, to make sure he doesn’t have a strong opinion on the matter (or, for that matter, that he can’t get the cans at a cheaper price than you can).

For cutting the holes in the drywall (assuming your ceiling is drywall and not plaster), you can use something like a Rotozip or any other rotary tool that accepts the drywall bit (I think Dremel has a a similar attachment now.)

I think the cans that attach to the drywall are called “remodeling” cans. Don’t know anything about the various brands, though.

It will save some money to install them yourself, and you don’t have to discuss what you want exactly.

Definitely use a Rotozip type tool, preferably WITH a flat base (sort of like a mini router base). Dremel does have them now, but I never used the Dremel, as I’ve had the Rotozip for a while.

DO take blue painters tape and tape up all around your cutouts to prevent the base from leaving marks on the surface. Set the cutter depth to the minimum you need… Ideally just to the depth of the drywall you are cutting through. Don’t make the holes too tight. A bit snug isn’t a real problem, but too tight is.

Most of all, go slow with the cutting. Practice on scrap, start in the middle and move out slowly. Do wear goggles and a breathing mask. Trust me, one blink or sneeze with a roto-tool can leave a 10" slot in wallboard.

I haven’t seen any bad clips or mounting methods for cans in a long time, I suppose some might be flimsier then others, but none are actually bad nowadays. As with the cutting the holes, see how difficult it is to install the can and mount on a scrap piece of drywall (or even any thin board).